Apr 10, 2015

Whitehall's Hozza Inherits Allentown's Syrians

Back in day, when demolition began to build the arena and Reillytown, Whitehall's Ed Hozza was cutting the ribbons with Ed Pawlowski. At the time, I questioned what he was doing there. Hozza's enthusiasm for Allentown's project quickly waned, as he realized truck after truck was dumping the former ground up buildings into  Whitehall's quarry. If that wasn't insult enough for Hozza's support, within two years Pawlowski would be supporting Hozza's current opponent. Although Hozza may have lost Pawlowski's support, there's a new power broker in Whitehall, the former Allentown Syrian community. The Syrians in Allentown developed their political influence back in the days of District Attorney George Joseph. Voting as a block, the Democratic Club in the ward could be counted on in local elections, and numerous Syrians ended up working in various departments of Allentown City government. Through inter-marriage and relationships, many non-Syrian names became part of the base, even including extended members of my family. Although that power base has shifted north in the last 15 years, it took Pawlowski's refusal to raise the Syrian flag to make the move official. In the future, the flags will be raised in Whitehall.

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